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Sierra Leone: A Time To Review And Take Sport Seriously
April 12, 2021 | 0 Comments

By Joe Pessima

For over 25 years, the Leone stars of Sierra Leone have not qualified for the prestigious African Cup of Nations tournament. Although the match didn’t play on the scheduled date (with controversy of COVID-19 test result in the way), it was a day of great significance. A deeply polarized nation was brought together by football. Seven million people were in bated breath in anticipation of a history making moment – where we become the sole deciders of our footballing fate. It is without doubt our darling Leone stars pull us all together in unity of purpose without regard to our common enemies of politics, religion, region etc. How much we can learn from that!

Let me digress. Sport has a unique and an unquantifiable impact in society. Be it a community causes to the inspiring of children from deprived regions, sport influences the lives of people on daily basis. In 2011, after Cristiano Ronaldo won the European golden shoe, he sold it at an auction for £1.2 million and donated the money towards building schools in war-torn Gaza.

Sport is a mega billion-dollar industry. In 2018, the global sports market was valued at approximately 471 billion U.S. dollars (Statista Research Department, 2020). The annual New York City marathon boosted the city’s economy to the tune of $340 million. Apart from its revenue generating ability, the sports industry in America produced 456,000 jobs with an average salary of $39,000 (Economic modeling specialist Intl.).

Back to Sierra Leone and sport. The importance of sport in the lives of Sierra Leoneans cannot be overemphasized. The New Direction manifesto listed sports as one of its sub-pillars in youth empowerment. It highlighted nine action points that will be implemented within a five-year mandate of the SLPP led government. This is so because President Julius Maada Bio believes that sports play an integral role in national development.

“The Government of Sierra Leone recognizes the enormous benefit sport provides and therefore acknowledges its importance in sustaining peace, building social and national cohesion, and creating enormous economic potential (job creation, income generation and stability), especially for young people. The relevance of sport has been neglected by successive governments and the entire society” (National Development plan 2019-2023).”

As President Bio has clocked three years in Office, it is necessary that we evaluate the impact his government has created in Sports. In the 2021 Citizen’s budget, the sum of Le 2.3 billion was allocated to the Ministry of Sports to cover the thirty-six sporting disciplines. Sadly, this is an extremely meager sum when compared to the ‘youth car wash project’ that enjoys the sum of 8.0 billion Leones. It is difficult to ascertain if the Bio administration has significantly increased budgetary allocation to Sports.

However, whilst they complain about a tight national budget in justifying the inadequate allocation, the Ministry of Finance intermittently allocates king-sized amounts to selected sporting disciplines upon qualification to international tournaments. In a Press release from the Ministry of Finance, the public was informed that from April 2018 to date, “the Government has disbursed 68,318,694,632.75 to the Ministry of Sports and the National Sports Authority for the PROMOTION, DEVELOPMENT and INTERNATIONAL PARTICIPATION of different sporting disciplines in the country.”

In his manifesto to the people of Sierra Leone, President Bio made several promises in relation to sports development.  He vowed to establish sport academies and provide facilities for sports development and recreation around the country. Currently, there is no functional football academy nor has Minister Ibrahim Nyelenkeh started any project of such.

Furthermore, the President promised to establish a sports development fund. In my research, there is no existing sports development fund in Sierra Leone.

The Inter-Secondary School sports meet was one of the most anticipated events for talent sourcing and it provided valued recreational opportunities to school going children. Reactivating it and other community activities was another marvelous hope given to the people of Sierra Leone, but it is yet to be delivered upon.

Alongside the resumption of national competition for all sporting disciplines, the President also promised to build standard stadium facilities in ALL regions including Western Rural communities in order to enhance the capacity of Sierra Leoneans in sport. All of these still remain in black and white as his mandate nears the end.

Undoubtedly, though, the Ministry of Sports and NSA has enjoyed over Sixty-Eight billion Leones in financial support from the Government with little or no evidential impact to show for it. Even so, it is not too late for a change in the direction of the New Direction. It is in my opinion that the policy and legal environment for sports development have to be reviewed. Before the end of 2021, the President should commit into having a national sports transformation conference in which experts will brainstorm the way forward.

The local councils have to be included if gainful transformation is to be achieved. Right across the country, very few schools can boast of having at least two recreational facilities for different sporting disciplines. Most communities are only proud of a football field and in most cases, it is the field of these schools that double as community playground. No wonder the infrastructure in these schools wears out quickly.

Conclusively, the major problem we face as a nation is the unwillingness to start our building blocks from ground zero. To attain an enviable height in any sporting discipline, we have to catch the talents at a tender age. Physical Health Education on Fridays should be reinstated across all schools. It will take 10-20 years of planning, monitoring & evaluation and deliberate investment if we are going to talk about sustainable and life changing gains. Generations before have failed us but we owe it to the next to prepare a solid foundation. We have to provide the enabling environment that will allow talents to decide their career pathway.

For far too long, our society has regrettably regarded University degrees as the only meaningful glory children can bring to their families. This moribund policy and inflexible system has left an insurmountable pressure on government for employment opportunities. Not everybody can be a Davidson-Nicol. Sierra Leone is in dire need of Mohamed Kallons, Cristiano Ronaldos, Serena Williams, Roger Federer and Anthony Joshuas too!

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Malawi breaks 11 year jinx to qualify for Afcon
March 30, 2021 | 0 Comments

By James Mwala.

The streets of Malawi were all filled last night, as empty as the Kamuzu Stadium was however in Blantyre, where the national football team broke an 11 year jinx to make it for the finals for the Africa Cup of Nations.

The team faced Uganda, with the hosts needed a win while the visitors only sought a point to join Burkina Faso as qualifying sides from Group B.

The Ugandan cranes headed into this match, at the back of a barren draw against Burkina Faso while the Flames added a lifeline to the campaign following a 1 nil win over South Sudan, a bottom logged side in the group.

In the first leg, Uganda beat Malawi 2 nil, and that was the leverage held aside from sitting over 30 places above Malawi on Fifa rankings.

In the 15th minutes, South African based Richard Mbulu towered higher to beat Denis Onyango with a thumping header for the Flames to lead until halftime and eventually after fulltime.

Flames Coach Meke Mwase had to recall some veterans, Limbikani Mzava and Gerard Phiri Jnr, both playing in South Africa while lethal forward Gabadihno Mhango was not in the squad having accumulated two back to back yellow cards.

The visibly clear efforts by Onyango, and Emmanuel Okwi failed to cancel out the Malawi goal, with the posts to the rescue twice in similar fashion for the home side.

The writing was on the wall for the Flames who last headed for the continental showpiece in 2010 and have now made just a third cut for the tournament in history.

Eventual group winners, Burkina Faso finished with 12 points following a 1 nil win over South Sudan who finished bottom with just three points.

Malawi came second with 10 points while Uganda finished with 8 points.  

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Basketball Africa League To Tip Off Historic Inaugural Season In May
March 29, 2021 | 0 Comments

The Basketball Africa League (BAL) today announced that the league’s historic inaugural season will tip off Sunday, May 16 at the Kigali Arena in Kigali, Rwanda, with 12 teams from across Africa competing in the new professional league.  The BAL, a partnership between the International Basketball Federation (FIBA) and the National Basketball Association (NBA) , builds on the foundation of club competitions FIBA Regional Office Africa has organized on the continent and marks the NBA’s first collaboration to operate a league outside of North America.  The first BAL Finals will be held Sunday, May 30.

The BAL will implement robust health and safety protocols for the 12 teams and personnel traveling to Rwanda, based on guidance from the World Health Organization and the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, with advice from public health officials and medical experts.

“We are thrilled that the inaugural Basketball Africa League season will take place at the world-class Kigali Arena,” said BAL President Amadou Gallo Fall.  “Through the BAL, we will provide a platform for elite players from across the continent to showcase their talent and inspire fans of all ages, use basketball as an economic growth engine across Africa, and shine a light on Africa’s vibrant sporting culture.”

“We are extremely happy to finally launch the highly anticipated first season of the BAL,” said FIBA Africa and BAL Board President Anibal Manave.  “FIBA and the NBA have been working closely together to develop protocols to address the health and safety of all players, coaches and officials.  The experience of hosting the FIBA AfroBasket 2021 Qualifiers in Rwanda late last year will contribute to a safe and successful inaugural BAL season.”

The league today also announced an adjusted competition format for the inaugural season, which will feature a total of 26 games at the Kigali Arena.  The competition will tip off with an 18-game group phase with the 12 teams divided into three groups of four.  During the group phase, each team will face the three other teams in its group once.  The top eight teams from the group phase will qualify for the playoffs, which will be single elimination in all three rounds.

Below are the 12 club teams from 12 African countries that will compete in the inaugural BAL season:

COUNTRYTEAM
AlgeriaGSP (Groupement Sportif des Pétroliers) **
AngolaPetro de Luanda (Clube Atlético Petroleos de Luanda) *
CameroonFAP (Forces Armées et Police Basketball) **
EgyptZamalek*
MadagascarGNBC (Gendarmerie Nationale Basketball Club)**
MaliAS Police (Association Sportive de la Police Nationale) **
MoroccoAS Salé  (Association Sportive de Salé) *
MozambiqueFerroviàrio de Maputo **
NigeriaRivers Hoopers BC (Rivers Hoopers Basketball Club)*
RwandaPatriots BC (Patriots Basketball Club)**
SenegalAS Douanes (Association Sportive des Douanes) *
TunisiaUS Monastir (Union Sportive Monastirienne)*

*Champion from national league that earned representation in the inaugural BAL season

**Secured participation in the inaugural BAL season through a BAL qualifying tournament

Champions from the national leagues in Angola, Egypt, Morocco, Nigeria, Senegal and Tunisia earned their participation in the inaugural season.  The remaining six teams, which come from Algeria, Cameroon, Madagascar, Mali, Mozambique and Rwanda, secured their participation through BAL qualifying tournaments conducted by FIBA Regional Office Africa across the continent in late 2019.

The BAL groups and additional details about the league will be announced at a later date.

About the BAL:
The BAL, a partnership between the International Basketball Federation (FIBA) and the NBA, is a new professional league featuring 12 club teams from across Africa.  Headquartered in Dakar, Senegal, the BAL builds on the foundation of club competitions FIBA has organized in Africa and marks the NBA’s first collaboration to operate a league outside North America.  Fans can follow the BAL (@theBAL) on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook and register their interest in receiving more information at www.theBAL.com.

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CAF Disqualifies Chad from Africa Cup of Nations qualifying
March 22, 2021 | 0 Comments

Chad was to host Namibia on Wednesday and play against Mali on Sunday.

By Boris Esono Nwenfor

Chad National Team
Chad National Team

The Confederation of African Football, CAF has disqualified Chad from the rest of the AFCON 2021 qualifiers, accusing the government of interfering in the affairs of the football federation.

The Chadian Ministry of Youth and Sports stripped the country’s football Federation of its powers on March 10 following concerns over the way it was being run and a communication breakdown, and will likely now also face a ban from FIFA, CAN report.

Following the suspension of the Chadian Football Federation by the Chadian Ministry of Youth and Sports, CAF has decided to disqualify the national team of Chad from the qualifiers of the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations,” CAF said in a statement.

“In line with Article 61 read together with Article 64 of the CAF Regulations, Chad is considered a loser of both matches against Namibia and Mali.”

The Confederation of African Football said it ordered Chad to forfeit two games scheduled for this week as 3-0 losses. Chad was to host Namibia on Wednesday and play at Mali on Sunday.

Chad was, however, out of contention to qualify for the final tournament in Cameroon next January and February. The country had collected just one point in their four qualification matches.

This is the first major decision taken by the new CAF leadership since taking office on March 12. Patrice Motsepe was elected unopposed becoming the seventh President of the African Football body.

Mali who has qualified for the AFCON now has 13 points in Group A. Guinea is placed second with 8 points from four matches. Guinea will host Mali this Wednesday and will qualify with a win but any other results will see them travelling to Namibia knowing it is a must-win encounter for them to book a ticket for the Cameroon expedition.

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Q & A with Malawian Soccer Star Yamikani Chester
March 20, 2021 | 0 Comments

By Ajong Mbapndah L

Yamikani Chester is full of ambitions and still has much to offer the world of football
Yamikani Chester is full of ambitions and still has much to offer the world of football

Full of talent, hard working and ambitious, Yamikani Chester believes the world is yet to see the best of him. The international footballer has so far excelled in professional clubs in Eastern Europe and the USA but a move to a league or club of bigger standing should not come as a surprise to anyone. In a Q and A with PAV, Chester sheds light on career so far and ambitions for club football and the Malawian National Team.

May we know how the last season went for you with all the challenges?

Chester: Well, settling into a new team was tough but a task I was up for. The manager that brought me in lost his job and we had a new manager come in which proved challenging, but I overcame that and let my football do the talking. The Covid pandemic hit us all hard but we re-grouped, and I in particular did well and finished as my teams (Las Vegas Lights) top goal scorer.

You are currently in Malawi, may we know your situation with Las Vegas Lights, are you still affiliated with the club?

Chester: I signed a 3-year contract with a Czech club called MFK Vyškov, and was loaned out to North Carolina FC for a season. The following season I was loaned out to Las Vegas lights FC. A bunch of clubs from the USA, Middle East, Europe and South America were interested in my services but together with my management we believed another season in the USA will prepare me for the next challenge. But as you know, Covid threw a spanner in the works for the world of football, sports to be precise. I have one year left with MFK Vyškov.

What were some of the activities that kept busy you during the COVID 19 period, how did Chester keep fit?

Chester: Family, friends and the Lord God kept me focused. Being an African player in American professional sports, I knew I had to work twice as hard as compared to my teammates in order to prove my worth and talent, I kept going. I had a set routine every day to keep my mental and physical state in tip top shape.

Prior to Las Vegas, you were with North Carolina FC, is playing in the US league a steppingstone for you or you envisage running the course of your career in the USA?

Chester: I wanted to compete at the highest professional level possible and open the door for more Malawians to follow. My dream is to have a great professional career; be remembered in world football and make my family, friends, and fans proud.

Malawi just needs the right investments, infrastructure and the rest will follow in nurturing young talent from rough to polished diamonds, says Chester
Malawi just needs the right investments, infrastructure and the rest will follow in nurturing young talent from rough to polished diamonds, says Chester

With regards to the league in the USA, how different is it from the Czech league where you starred for MFK Vyškov?

Chester: Funny thing is that since signing in the Czech Republic, I have never played there but from what I have experienced in the USA, the professionalism, facilities and personnel are world class. To be honest, the USA has some of the best professional training facilities in the world and it is only a matter of time till the soccer scene here is at the top.

What is the state of football back home in Malawi, what is working and what is not working?

Chester: Malawi has great talent and over the years has produced great players who haven’t really transcended beyond the African borders. Our weakness is that football is viewed as a poor man sport in Malawi; the grassroots level is almost non-existent yet this is the most crucial part; the investment in football is low; the infrastructure is poor and players do not have the dietary needs nor the facilities.

A lot of work needs to be done. We have the talent, we just need the right investments, infrastructure and the rest will follow in nurturing young boys and girls talent from rough to polished diamonds. I see no reason why we cannot produce English Premier League or La Liga stars.

Being one of the privileged Malawians playing professional football, do you feel any extra pressure to be a worthy Ambassador for your country?

Chester: No pressure at all, I live my life and try to do the best I can for me, my family and fans. We only get to live this life once and let us have no regrets but rather aim for the best we can be.

I carry the responsibility on my shoulder to be a role model to others and hope others achieve more than me. The cycle must go on.

Malawi has not had any standout performance yet, the country is often absent from major competitions like African Nations cup, not even to mention the world cup, what is holding your country back, what will it take for that breakthrough moment to come?

Chester: The poor infrastructure and investment has affected us dearly as a nation. But we have learnt of our weaknesses and surely you will see Malawi, The Flames shining on the international stage soon enough. We have the talent to do so.

he momentum from a  promising season with Las Vegas lights FC  was slowed down by COVID-19.Photo credit twitter
he momentum from a promising season with Las Vegas lights FC was slowed down by COVID-19.Photo credit twitter

Does Chester have any role models who inspired him in his early days, and to thousands of young Malawians out there who want to emulate your example and success, what advise do you have for them?

Chester: I have so many role models, from Ronaldinho, David Beckham, Paul Scholes, Didier Drogba, to Malawi’s Joseph Kamwendo and Esau Kanyenda to name a few.

My advice to all athletes out there is be yourself, work hard, believe in your talent and it will happen for you. Nothing worthwhile comes easy so go out there and put all your energy into that passion and don’t lose the moment. 

As we wrap this interview, any projections for 2021, what goals and ambitions for your career both at the club level and the Malawi National team?

Chester: To be honest, my management has kept me really motivated and they are working on something for me, so I hope it materializes in the way we envision it. I hope, soon enough, to be playing in a top team in a very good professional league watched by millions around the world. As for the Flames, success is our only option, I hope this will be the year we turn our fortunes around and inspire a whole nation to get behind us.

*Culled from March Issue of PAV Magazine

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New CAF President Sets out His Vision for African Football
March 19, 2021 | 0 Comments

By Prince Kurupati

Motsepe says that one of his  key priorities at the present moment is to improve CAF’s financial fortunes.Photo credit Martin Rhodes/BusinessLIVE
Motsepe says that one of his key priorities at the present moment is to improve CAF’s financial fortunes.Photo credit Martin Rhodes/BusinessLIVE

South African Patrice Motsepe, the ninth richest man in Africa is now the head of the Confederation of African Football (CAF). Motsepe won the CAF presidential race election unopposed after his rival candidates for the post pulled out while the incumbent Ahmad Ahmad from Madagascar was barred from contesting.

Speaking soon after his victory, Motsepe said he was elated to be elected. He also thanked FIFA President Gianni Infantino for offering support and believing his vision for African football. “It’s a huge honour and privilege for me… Let me thank my brother Gianni Infantino for the vision and encouragement of unity. We can only deal with the challenges of Africa and we will succeed, but will only do so when we are united.”

Motsepe said that he looks forward to a fruitful term, one of cooperation between the continental football mother body and all football associations in various African countries. “The leadership we have in Africa (and) the leadership we have of football in every country gives me confidence and inspires me… I am absolutely confident that by working together we will indeed succeed to make African football not just reach the summit but be amongst the best in the world.”

Laying out his vision, Motsepe said his first port of call in the coming year will be to visit all African countries. The aim being to strengthen the relationship between the continental football mother body and all national football associations in Africa. Motsepe said that only unity and cooperation will help Africa to attain its goals when it comes to football.

“I’ll be visiting every single country in Africa in the next 9-12 months because it is important to engage with you in your country, meet the private sector and political leadership and talk about implementation,” Motsepe said.

In addition to strengthening the ties between national football associations and CAF, Motsepe also stated that another key priority at the present moment is to improve CAF’s financial fortunes. Since 2017, CAF has been recording more expenditure over income. Cash flow figures from 2019 to 2020 showed that the continental football mother body suffered a drop in its cash reserves of $40m dollars – from $110m to $70m.

As CAF looks to the end of another financial year, projections all point to one disturbing result that is, the continuation of the downward trend in CAF’s income figures. Faced with this challenge, Motsepe promised to use his business acumen in turning the financial fortunes of CAF for the better.

“The way to get yourself out of trouble is not to cut, because if you keep cutting you get to the bone and then you cut the bone, so the recognized strategy worldwide – in commerce – is to grow… And you grow by making your football and country attractive,” he said.

He went on to stress that immediate success will lay the path for the realization of all goals set out for this term. On this front, Motsepe is earmarking the first six months of his term to be the example of what the future holds. “I want to conclude by emphasizing the urgency of getting things done because the success of the next six months will lay the foundation for the medium to long term success we require to make sure that African football is indeed globally successful and globally competitive… We want our national teams to win and succeed… Some of the meaningful results will take some time but it starts with investment in our youth and infrastructure.”  

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Kenya Canoeing team depart to Spain for Africa Slalom Canoe Olympics qualifiers
March 10, 2021 | 0 Comments

By Samuel Ouma

Kenya Canoeing team left the country on Tuesday, March 9, for Spain ahead of the Africa Slalom Canoe Olympics qualifiers.

The tournament, which brings together other African teams like Algeria, DRC, Morocco, Mauritius, and Senegal, will be held on March 20th&21st in Seu D’Urgell, Spain.

The team that jets out at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport consisted of Samwel Muturi, Levias Karanja, and Daniel Chomba under coach Titus Mukundi.

According to the Kenya Rowing Federation, the team’s initial plan to travel on Saturday was aborted due to a lack of appropriate visas to travel to Barcelona via Amsterdam.

‘’The reason given for the denial of boarding was that the Spanish Embassy’s visas for the travel could not allow the team to transit through Amsterdam{ a Schengen area} which was the flight route to Barcelona. There are no other direct flights from Nairobi to Barcelona. We are disappointed that after all the visas were issued on the strength of among other documents the travel itinerary and tickets which indicated the flight route’’ said the team manager Mohammed Bashora.

Through the intervention of the International Canoeing Federation, the National Olympic Committee of Kenya, and the State Department for Sport, the team finally managed to obtain an alternative flight plan and visa for team.

Titus Mukundi charges will take part in two competitions, the Canoe 1 and Kayak 1.

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Kenya:Gor Mahia’s dominance is over
March 8, 2021 | 0 Comments

By Samuel Ouma

Kenya Premier League side Gor Mahia recently have dominated the media’s headlines thanks to their outstanding performance in the domestic league.

The team bagged four titles in four years in a row, making them the most successful team in Kenyan football history with 19 titles.

During the four years, K’Ogalo represented Kenya in continental football and played the English side Everton twice, in Tanzania and at Goodison Park in the UK.

In 2015, the reigning champions finished the league unbeaten with 78 points, 20 ahead of their closest rival under the management of Briton Frank Nuttal.

Their unbeaten run was a repeat of their heroic feat of 1983, 1984, and 1985. They earned praise from people from all walks of life, and many projected Gor to dominate the local football for many years to come. Some even claimed that K’Ogalo lacks a strong opponent on Kenyan soil.

 Contrary to expectations, the team is enduring a downturn in results this season.

The 2-0 loss in the KCB hands left them languishing at position eight with 19 points. The loss handed a massive blow to their already slim title hopes.

The title race has been narrowed down to few teams such as Tusker, KCB, and AFC Leopards.

On Friday, March 5, Tusker beat Ulinzi Stars 1-0 to extend their lead at the summit, and AFC Leopards downed Nairobi City Stars 1-0 on Saturday.

KCB is now trailing Tusker with six points at position two, having played one game less, while Leopards is in position three with 28 points, and if by chance they win their two games in hand, they will jump to position two, one point behind the league leaders.

Gor’s slump in form has been attributed to financial woos that led to the departure of many first-team players before the beginning of the season. However, the rival fans believe their opponent’s lackluster performance has been caused by a lack of fans in the stadium. They said Gor Mahia fans are notorious for intimidating referees to make unquestionable decisions in their favor.

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Brazilian striker Silva scores his first goal for Gor Mahia
March 3, 2021 | 0 Comments

By Samuel Ouma

Wilson Silva Fonseca
Wilson Silva Fonseca

On Wednesday, Kenya Premier League side Gor Mahia ended a four-match winless run with a 2-1 hard-fought victory over Kakamega Homeboyz at Bukhungu Stadium.

The team’s duel against their arch-rivals AFC Leopards ended in a stalemate draw on February 7, a week after stunning Bandari FC 3-1. Kenya defending champions went ahead and lost 1-0 in Nairobi to Napsa Stars of Zambia in the Caf Confederation-Cup play-off before drawing 2-2 in the return league in Lusaka.

Surprisingly, the 19th times Kenyan champions again fell 2-1 to Nzoia United over the weekend, an outcome that piled pressure on players and the technical bench.

It looked set to be another disappointing day for the reigning champions in their visit to Western when Chris Masinza put the home side ahead with thirteen minutes gone.

However, Tito Okello’s equalizer in the 56th minute sparked them to life.

A superb strike by Brazilian import Wilson Silva Fonseca in the match’s dying moments made it 2-1 for the Green Army.

Kakamega Homeboyz were reduced to 10 men after Thomas Wainaina was red-carded following an ugly battle with Gor Mahia’s attacker Sammy Onyango.

Gor is now eighth in the log after playing 11 matches, while Tusker FC, the league leaders, have amassed 32 points from 14 games.

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Kenya:Morans set to kick off early preparation ahead of FIBA AfroBasket Championships
March 1, 2021 | 0 Comments

By Samuel Ouma

Buoyed by an exemplary performance at the just concluded FIBA AfroBasket qualifiers held in Yaounde, Cameroon, Kenya’s men basket team are scheduled to start early training.

Kenya Basketball Federation chair Paul Otula revealed the local-based players would report to the training camp in a fortnight to prepare for FIBA AfroBasket Championships.

The showpiece is slated for August 24-September 4 in Kigali, Rwanda.

Assistant coach Sadat Gay will manage the players in the camp until the head coach until May when the head coach Liz Mills will return from Holiday in Australia.

“She will leave behind the programme to be followed by other coaches, organise zoom meetings and advice accordingly. With technology, nothing is impossible. We will be trying out every player and will only pick the best in each and every position,” said Paul Otula.

Otula also noted plans to extend training camp and organize friendly matches to ensure the players are adequately prepared for the tournament.

The chairman said the team’s management would have to choose wisely good players from a pool of 30, both playing in the local and foreign leagues.

He further challenged the players who did not make it to the squad during qualifiers to pull up their shocks to increase their chances of selection into the final squad.

Kenya qualified for the FIBA AfroBasket Championships for the first time in 28 years after stunning the African giant Angola.

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2021 Mount Cameroon Race:North West Athletes Dominate Yet Again
March 1, 2021 | 0 Comments

Ali Mohammadou from Bui emerges victorious in the male category while Kitan Mildred wins in the female category

By Boris Esono Nwenfor

Ali Mohammadou wins in the senior male category
Ali Mohammadou wins in the senior male category

Athletes from the North West Region have continued their dominance of the Mount Cameroon Race of Hope. In the 26th edition organized in Buea on February 27, the winners in the senior male, senior female, junior male and female and the veteran women all came from the North West.

The ambience that the race usually witnesses before is slowly coming back with hundreds of fans coming out to watch and cheer the athletes as they ascended and descended the “chariot of the gods”.

Ali Mohammadou from the Bui Division of the North West Region finished the race first in a time of 4hrs 32mins and 24secs. In 2019, Ali Mohammadou finished in the second position while in 2020 was not amongst the top three.

Defending male champion Godlove Gabsibuin, the most successful male athlete with five titles could only finish in the second position. He did the race in 4hrs 45mins 03secs.

The third position was occupied by Fai Elvis Ndzedzeni who did the race in 4hrs 45mins 54secs.

Ali Mohammadou who wins for the first time could not hide his joy while appreciating the efforts of all those who supported him in his goal to become a champion this year.

“I started my career in 2012 hoping to become a champion one day. When you discover your talent do it even if your father and mother do not like it. When you see someone go up and come back down from the summit respect that person. This is because it is not easy to run 42km and back,” Ali Mohammadou said.

The champion Ali Mohamadou has called for an end to the present crisis that has claimed the lives of many as to him what will solve the problem is not by fighting.

“For my athletic career, I cry because of the Kumba massacre, the Ngarbuh massacre, the mbororos massacre which means it is very painful. I train in where the violence is very high and I know the pains of this crisis,” He added.

It was a closely fought battle in the women’s category from the time the ladies touched hut 2 and back. Going up it was Cheserek Agnes from Kenya who led the race past Hut Two and reached the summit of the first position. She was closely followed by Kitan Mildred as they descended while defending champion Tatah Carine was in third.

Like last year where the Kenyans dominated the ascending, their grip of the descending of Mount Fako is still proving difficult. In the descending, Kitan Mildred was able to pass Cheserek Agness and reached Bongo Square on the first position. Defending Champion Tatah Carine who ran this year under the South West Region equally passed the Kenyan and it was a two-horse race to the finish line.

Kitan Mildred slowly jugs to the finish line and was almost caught by Tatah Carine. It was, however, the year for Kitan Mildred Ntumeku who won the race, and in doing so winning for the first time. She did the race in 5hrs 21mins 45secs.

Tatah Carine came second in 5hrs 22mins 00sec. Jepkosegei Cheserek Agness who had led the race could only finish third in 5hrs 33mins 50secs.

“I want to promise my fans that they should not be discouraged that I came second. I am going back and will come up strong again,” Tatah Carine, three-time winner of the race said.

“To the young girl, it is not good for them to just stay at home idle. It is good for them to do things and discover their talents and work towards that talent to achieve their goals.”

Kitan Mildred
Kitan Mildred

Winners of the veteran women category

There was a new champion this year in the veteran women category. Nkambi Martina Ngenjang, 53-year-old from the North West Region came in the first position. She was second in the 2020 edition of the race.

Meantime, last year’s champion Nogah Brigitte, 51-year-old from the South West Region finished in the third position, while 57-year-old Mengwi Justina from the Littoral region came in third.

Junior Male winners

Mamoudou Dahiro came first

Gabsibuin Prophet Kanjoring in second and,

Wanma Walters Mbuh in third

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Kenya Morans honored for history-making
February 25, 2021 | 0 Comments

By Samuel Ouma

Kenya Basketball Federation (KBF) chairman Paul Otula
Kenya Basketball Federation (KBF) chairman Paul Otula

In conjunction with Kenya Basketball Federation (KBF), Kenya’s Sports Ministry hosted a men’s basketball team popularly known as the Morans to luncheon following their triumph in Yaoundé Cameroon over the weekend.

In attendance were the Sports Minister Dr. Amina Mohamed, Kenya Basketball Federation (KBF) chairman Paul Otula and the federation’s Secretary General Ambrose Kisoi, among other officials.

The Morans jetted back into the country on Wednesday, February 24, after thrashing African giants Angola 74-73 on Saturday in a nail-biting contest in the West African country.

The historic win saw Kenya booking a ticket to the FIBA AfroBasket 2021 tournament in Rwanda after a 28-year hiatus.

The Australian Elizabeth Mills’ side also qualified for the 2023 World Cup qualifiers for the first time.

Speaking during the event, Dr. Amina Mohamed said the government is committed to supporting the team’s activities before and during the tournament slated for August this year.

Dr. Amina said the Ministry would fully facilitate the team’s pre-competition camp by ensuring that all the team and competition prerequisites’ training needs are addressed promptly.

The Ministry will also cover the cost of participation.

“Yours has been a story of exceptional triumph and outstanding growth; the team and players’ needs are of the utmost priority to our operations. We want to keep you motivated and to reward you for honoring the flag of our beautiful country,” said Dr. Amina.

According to the KBF Secretary General, Kenya can become one of the continent’s basketball powerhouses if proper systems are implemented.

“We have learnt that we have a lot of talents in this country, and we need to have a well-coordinated way of bringing these talents together. Given good preparations and facilitation, the team can perform much better,” Kisoi said.

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